9/23 This Action will have Consequences – Talia Feinberg

In “‘This Action Will have Consequences’: Interactivity and Player Agency”, the idea of videogames and their interactivity (or lack thereof) is discussed. While one of the draws to playing video games is having autonomy in choosing what the character does, this article actually challenges that idea and claims that there is a severe lack of autonomy in playing video games. They use two case studies revolving around two different video games in showing how this is manifested. The article also argues that the true autonomy regarding video games is not in playing them, but rather in their interpretation of the game text, which can be harmful in their real-life ethical choices. 

Video games are not interactive but rather reactive. Yes, users press buttons that determine the actions of the character, however, this is limited in the sense that the videogame merely reacts in a pre-coded way. While players have an illusion that they are in complete charge of their characters’ fate, they are merely agents within the gameplay experience”, hence, they are just following the path that is already set out for them. 

This article was easy to follow however, not really set up as a typical experiment research paper. The concepts discussed were initially surprising, as one would think that the user does have autonomy in video games, but as the researchers continued to explain their reasoning, it is not surprising in the context of the examples. 

3 thoughts on “9/23 This Action will have Consequences – Talia Feinberg

  1. This is really interesting. Of course I’ve recognize this, but I’ve never truly thought of how the video game has already been designed and it’s just waiting for the player to choose an already preconceived action. It’s an interesting way to think about video games. Also, in a way, media, like videos games, can end up influencing one’s thoughts and actions outside of the game–thus, taking on a certain type of control. While some situations may be practical in video games, those actions and ideas may not translate well to the real world.

  2. Talia, your summary of this article was fascinating. It made me think of how my roommates and I sometimes play Mario Kart on our Wii when we are bored. While I feel like I am in complete charge of my character while I am playing, there are paths, obstacles, and computer players that are programmed into the game. Like you said, we are “merely agents” within the game that is already set out for us and programmed. The findings and conclusions of this article definitely gave me a different perspective on video games.

  3. The article brings some new ideas to me. It mentions that in the game The Walking Dead, after completing each episode, players are shown the statistics of other players’ decisions at major moments in the game. I seldom play video game, and I think that’s interesting to see others’ choices. It also states that players act as moral agents because they react to dilemmas with a moral stance rather than with logic or strategy. Some games may foster the sense that players have a responsibility for what happens on-screen.

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